** Webmaster Note: The following
is a translation from Hebrew by Laia Ben-Dov
as sponsored by George Zilbergeld.
Additional clarifications are provided in parenthesis ( ).
LIKE A HOMETOWN
bring up dear Vladimirets as the memory of a home town, even
though we were residents of the nearby village Andrukha.The distance between these two settlements was about 7
many of the days of my childhood in Vladimirets.I learned in its various cheders, and I was
connected to it by bonds of love.During the period of the Soviet conquest, I learned in
the Jewish public school there.My uncle, David-YaakovSlivkin, was a resident of
Vladimirets and our families used to visit each other.Thus, we were involved with the Jews of the town as if we
were actual residents.
was a large village and it served as a center for smaller
villages, such as Pechenki, Voronki, Uzhiro, and more.The Jews of Andrukha had their own synagogue, and the
residents of the smaller villages would sometimes come there on
holidays to pray with the congregation.There was no cheder in the village where I was
the children were sent to learn Torah elsewhere.But one of the homeowners brought a teacher to his home
to teach his children; the teacher lived in his house for a
in Andrukha had many branches.Of the twelve Jewish families living in Andrukha, five of
them were related to us.In addition to businesses involving merchandise and
groceries, in which every one of the local Jews had a hand, each
family also kept several cows, managed a small holding such as a
vegetable garden, an orchard, and more.These families were established and well-to-do, and they
had many children.
In our home, and also in the homes of my uncles Moshe Slivkin
and Yitzchak Slivkin, for example, there were eight souls each.My Aunt Nechama, Mordechai Weissman's wife; the family of
Chaim-Meir Slivkin and the family of Shlomo Weissman lived here
also.This was a
united community of deep-rooted people, healthy in body and
sons were those who excelled when they grew up and became
famous, even among the goyim, mainly my cousins Boaz-Rachum,
Leibel and Pinchas.
Russians left our place, these uncles of mine saw what was
coming and secretly prepared weapons for a time of trouble.The weapons two Polish rifles and a pistol, along with
ammunition they received from two Jewish soldiers who returned
from the Polish army, which had already fallen apart.In general, the Ukrainian residents of Andrukha did not
exhibit a bad attitude toward the Jews.
incident is engraved in my memory of a plot against the local
with the withdrawal of the Russians from our place and was not
done by the local goyim, but rather by goyim who
came from other places.However, their plot was foiled in time.This entire story sounds somewhat strange but it did
happen, and it can symbolize the ties of brotherhood between our
village and Vladimirets, since the rescue from that dramatic
trouble came from Jewish Vladimirets.
One day, a
gang of rioters arrived in the village Pechenki and demanded
gold and jewelry from the local Jews.Generally, at that time the Jews hid their valuables,
giving them to the goyim to protect.When the gang came to Pechenki, the local goyim
told them that the few Jews who lived in their village were very
poor and that there was nothing to be taken from them.They suggested that they go to Andrukha, where there were
really rich Jews.
So the gang left Pechenki and turned toward Andrukha.For the purpose of camouflage, they wore uniforms of the
Ukrainian police, and as such, they hoped to carry out their
work more easily.
came to Andrukha, the disguised goyim spread out among
the various homes of the Jews two in each house.They arrived in the village at two or three o'clock in
was a very strange operation.It is hard to know what their precise plan was, but they
did not begin to rob anyone immediately; they sat in the houses
and didn't allow anyone to leave.It is possible that they were waiting for nightfall, and
it is possible that they had some other plan.The Jews of Andrukha regarded the arrivals as policemen
and did not suspect them.But Moshe Oster's wife somehow found out that the
arrivals had come from Pechenki and that they were not really
police, but wild men of violence.She snuck out of the village and ran on foot to
Vladimirets to notify them there of the situation and summon
arrived in Vladimirets, she immediately went to Yaakov Eisenberg
and caused a great panic.Yaakov immediately contacted his friend Andrei Mocha, the
head of the Ukrainian police, and told him what was happening in
drafted a large group of police and they went out to Andrukha to
see the situation first-hand.
that it was a pleasant summer day, and I had planned to go with
several other lads to the landlord's park, there to spend time
in the village was still being conducted as usual.But when we saw that police had come to the village and
that they began spreading out to the homes of the Jews, we
decided to stop our game and each of us went home to see what
happened from nearby.
When I got
home, I stood outside for a while, wondering whether I should go
into the house or not, and then I saw one of the disguised
policemen, who asked me:
"Are you a
And when I
told him that I was a member of the family in this house, he
ordered me to go inside immediately and not to run around
fellow was a tall goy armed with a rifle and bayonet, and
of course I was afraid to refuse him.
When I came
inside, I saw that everyone was very tense the goyim
had not yet done anything bad; they had only forbidden the
members of the household to leave.It was as if they had placed a blockade on the Jewish
came in, Abba asked me:
you come for now?
Couldn't you remain outside?"
there for some time.It was a strange situation; nobody knew what would
"police" sat and talked secretly to each other.All of a sudden, through the window we saw three men in
uniform approaching the house.These were Andrei Mocha's police, who had also arrived in
a large group and spread out among the houses.The arrivals shouted toward those sitting in the house:
comrades, come here!"
When one of
the two went outside, two of the police who were coming fell
upon him and took away his weapon, while the third one stood
ready, with his rifle aimed toward the window, at the goy
who remained inside.In a few minutes, they also overcame the second
it was told that one of the "policemen" who sat in Yitzchak
Slivkin's house shut himself into one of the rooms and refused
to go out until they threatened to shoot him, and then they took
him out.All of the
men who were arrested were gathered next to the fork in the
road, at the crossroad.They requested that the police drive away the Jews who
had come to watch.
also came out of the house to find out what happened.All kinds of stories were told for example, it was told
that in Weissman's house one of them sat and sharpened his
bayonet the entire time, just for the sake of inducing fear.My cousin Leibel, for example, told us that the entire
time he wanted to sneak out of the room in order to get his
pistol from its hiding place, but they watched him with seven
eyes and didn't allow him to go out.
comparison with other places, the fists of the Germans were
almost not felt in our village.The Germans arrived in the village about eight days after
the above incident.
Only a few Germans came, riding on motorcycles.They had no special contact with the Jews.They only called to several of the goyim who lived
in the village and appointed one of them as the head of the
that, they went to several Jewish homes, looked here and there,
and left the village without harming anyone.Nevertheless, we were tense the whole time.
that one day this was already in the winter we suddenly
heard the sound of cars in the village.We understood that Germans were coming.All the Jews began to hide and run away.I also fled, and hid in the house of a goy, the
shoemaker, whose house stood near the forest.We were afraid that they would draft us for forced labor
and send us to Germany.Special taxes were not imposed upon us, but we
participated in the taxes that had been imposed on Vladimirets.
Jewish police from Vladimirets came to us to collect our portion
of the tax imposed on Vladimirets.This time, it was a tax of furs, and we gave two furs.Another time, they claimed shoes and we gave materials
Subsequently, we also participated in contributions of gold.At that time, people were praising the Polish priest from
According to these stories, the priest brought his own gold
watch and chain to Yaakov Eisenberg and asked him to also accept
his portion as a sign of solidarity with the suffering Jewish
months, approximately, in the month of April 1942, the news
arrived that all of the Jews of the villages were to be moved to
Vladimirets, and that we were included.The news was received by the village head, Philip Bazaka,
who had a very good relationship with the Jews.His kindnesses were revealed mainly after the slaughter,
when he gave a great deal of assistance to Jews who were hiding.
It was one
of the first days of spring when Philip informed us that they
were moving all of us to the ghetto in Vladimirets.The news awakened a great fear.We were connected to the village of our birth, where we
had seen days of contentment and prosperity.Each one began to pack his possessions and tried to take
most of them, but the possibilities were limited.We left Andrukha without the escort of Germans or police,
only because they didn't worry that we would flee somewhere.They knew very well that we had no choice.For example, three wagons were allotted for our family's
use.We loaded them
with food and even furniture.We left at about 9 o'clock.The trip passed without event.Our entire family was settled in Shmuel Rosenberg's
Vladimirets, there was no ghetto in the accepted meaning of the
term.We were not
surrounded by barbed-wire fences.What indicated the life of the ghetto to the outside was
the yellow patch, the prohibition against crossing the street,
and the appropriation of the synagogues to be used as
storehouses for crops.In comparison to other locations, there was less
Many regarded this as the fruit of the contacts that Yaakov
Eisenberg had with the chief of police and other goyim.
drafted for forced labor, including me.I was then 13‑1/2 years old.I had to go to work.Every day, I woke up at 6 and went to the Committee [Judenrat]
building to see if I was listed.The list was posted in the building, and on it were the
names of those who had to go out to work.Most of the time, we received the news that we had to go
out from the police.
At first, I
worked at cleaning the streets pulling out weeds from all of
worker received a certain section and he was obligated to clean
it.These jobs were
filled mostly by young lads.After that, I worked for a time in the crop storehouses
in the synagogue.
The Germans received a crop tax from the villagers, mainly rye
seeds and barley.
They gathered the crops in the synagogues.The seeds were poured on the floor, and in order to
aerate them so that they wouldn't get moldy, they had to be
turned over every once in a while.We did this with wooden shovels.Here also, we worked with almost no supervision.The guard, to the extent that they did guard us, was
supplied by the Judenrat.Many people wanted to do this work, and for a good reason
the workers in the synagogue succeeded in hiding a few seeds
in their clothing and brought them home to their families.We would go out to work wearing boots, and this allowed
us to hide a lot of seeds.We tucked our trousers into the tops of our boots, and by
doing so we enlarged the receptacle for hiding the seeds.
in the ghetto made its signs, and then a public kitchen was
was in Yaakov Slivkin's house, opposite the Judenrat.
was a temporary synagogue in that building.The kitchen supplied only the noon meal, mainly soup.Every day, about 100 portions were given out.Chava Eisenberg was the head of the kitchen.This was the result of Yaakov Eisenberg's blessed
as I remember, at that time people spoke about the connection he
had with the owners of the flour mill, who supplied flour to the
had no need for the kitchen.We had connections in Andrukha, mainly with our friend
Dennis Russin, a resident of the village who occasionally
brought food products to Vladimirets.Dennis would come to the main street, stand for a moment
next to the wicket of the yard, look here and there down the
street, and when he saw that it was the right time, he would
quickly go inside, leave the products he brought and go out
Sometimes, when the guard in the street was increased, he would
go by way of a side street and leave by way of the wicket.It was forbidden for Jews to walk on the main street, and
not only that it was also forbidden for them to look out a
window facing the street.Therefore, we were ordered to glue paper over the windows
up to the height of the upper pane.Only the upper pan remained exposed without being
covered, to let in some light.
family's situation improved when my sister Teibele went out to
work in the village as a seamstress.This was a legal job, and it was done according to an
agreement between the Judenrat and the Germans.This also opened an opportunity to smuggle food into the
ghetto in various ways.
in Vladimirets were few, and control there was mainly in the
hands of the Ukrainian police.It was forbidden to go out of the house before 6 o'clock.Once, Mordechai Weissman from Andrukha went out at the
wrong time.He was
seized and brought to the police, where he was very cruelly
situation got worse.Rumors reached us from afar that there had been mass
Vladimirets, the Jewish version of life still went on, in spite
of the limitations.
People gathered for prayer in private houses instead of the
congregations were full and the prayers came forth from broken
prayed in the prayer room that had been established in Yaakov
Slivkin's house, and there was one young lad there who was the
His family name was Katz.He had a lovely voice, and on the Sabbaths he would teach
Pirkei Avot [Ethics of the Fathers] to a large
was enough for him to explain only three or four verses the
explanation was given in a pleasant tune and with various
was mesmerized by his knowledge; they found in it a bit of
comfort and were able to forget their troubles.When the Jews would gather for public prayer or learning,
they would also talk about the situation.Engraved in my memory is a saying I heard in the
synagogue, spoken euphemistically:"Im zeinen areingefallen 9 fligen in tcheinik"
in other words, "Nine flies fell into the kettle."And the explanation was that somewhere, nine German
planes had been downed.
no actual partisans as yet during that time, but the name
"partisans" already was circulated, and people held onto this
name as a hope that finally, we would be rescued from the claws
of the Yekkim [Germans].
time, Abba worked loading wood next to the kaleika
[railroad tracks] of Vladimirets, and he told us that one day, a
young villager came, who spoke Russian with the workers, and
that it is forbidden for me to talk to you.They might see me here, but you should know that we will
was wearing a long coat, and they saw that under his coat, he
was carrying a weapon.The man came out to them from the forest, and when he
finished speaking, he returned to the forest and disappeared.They regarded him as miraculous.The man also appeared a second time.This time, his words were more specific.He spoke about the need to organize and revolt.There were disagreements among the Jews. Some of them
said that it was foolish to talk to him and listen to what he
said perhaps he was a German agent pretending to be otherwise.But there were some Jews who saw him as a type of
messenger on behalf of the partisans.
also other revelations born out of deprivation and days of
Vladimirets, at that time, there was a Jew of about 50 years of
age, who arrived there from the village Burobya.They called him "Yitzchak der Burobyer."This Jew spent most of his time fasting and praying.He believed that the suffering that we were enduring was
the suffering of the Redemption.To him, all of our troubles were none other than the
footsteps of the Messiah.I remember that once I saw him standing with a group of
men, and he was preaching to them like a seer of old:We must show pride and calmness.With the eyes of my soul, I see that out of this
suffering the Redemption will come.But in order to speed its coming, we must fast and pray."He spiced his words with verses from the Tanach
[Bible] and the Talmud, in order to prove their truth.
As far as I
remember, people did not relate negatively to "Yitzchak der
bent and broken, oppressed Jew was thirsty for any ray of light,
and therefore he would also find comfort in words that were far
removed from reality.Other than that, der Burobyer's statements were
not confused; his verses were always quoted properly and were
brought in the proper, logical place, and therefore he awakened
feelings of belief in the hearts of his listeners.
before the elimination of Jewish Vladimirets, days of great fear
passed over us.Two
German soldiers, from those who served in Vladimirets, were shot
and killed between the villages Pechenki and Andrukha, and their
weapons were stolen.The Jews immediately locked themselves in their houses
and tensely awaited what would happen.Many Germans were brought from Rafalovka and Sarny for
operations of retribution, but Vladimirets came out of the
Germans took revenge only upon the nearby villages.They burned houses and murdered people.When the army returned from this excursion of punishment,
they passed through Vladimirets, but no one was harmed by them,
and again, life entered its ordinary path.
occurred, we were under the threat of death for two days.At that time, it was unknown who had attacked the
were secretly searching for clues linking this event with
stories regarding partisans and that same miraculous man who
came out of the forest and spoke with the workers.
we were in the forests after the massacre, rumors abounded that
Lieutenant Shitov Alyosha was among the initiators of this
a Russian prisoner who had escaped from the hands of the Germans
and found shelter with one of the villagers in the area as an
agricultural worker.At that time, the German army began to hunt down the
them obtained weapons and began to conduct secret sorties in
ambush against lone Germans who they came across.
prophecies and good intentions of "Yitzchak der Burobyer,"
nor the sparks of hope awakened by those miraculous fighters who
wandered in the forests, were of help the tie of strangulation
Germans indeed tried, until the last moment, to delude the
people and camouflage their schemes so as to make their bloody
work easier for themselves.
Vladimirets, a spirit of awakening and disquiet arose several
days before the massacre.This was mainly so among the group of youngsters who
worked in the Russian kolkhoz[communal farm] that the Germans had let remain so as to
gain agricultural produce.At the time, the Germans drafted strong, talented young
men to work and they were employed at this kolkhoz, which
was located in the landowner's holding.Among this group, I remember the Sussel brothers, Pinchas
Slipak; Moshe Slivkin's son Pinchas; Yitzchak Slivkin's son
Pinchas; Leibel Slivkin, Rachel Metikowitz; Teibele Slivkin;
Eliezer Dik; Hershel Kamin; Asher Guz all these were strong,
young people who went out to work every morning without any
guards, equipped with special exit permits, and returned home
toward evening at 4 or 5 o'clock.The members of this group were like a unit in themselves,
which kept its own secret.That was the attitude toward them in the town.There was a feeling that they did not accept the
situation and that they were conferring how to preempt the evil
with deeds.I know
that one day my cousin Pinchas, Moshe Slivkin's son, came to his
parents and told them specifically that he was planning to flee
from the town and go out to the forests.I remember that his parents received this news in a very
will you leave us, Pinchas?For whom will you leave us?" they answered tearfully, and
he seemed to recoil from the plan.
four or five days before the destruction of the town, when the
news arrived that they were digging large pits nearby, the
decision of the members of the group was already final they
would not be led to death.The group also formed a plan which was not carried out
to set the town on fire on all sides, and cause panic within
before the Germans could organize the death parades.By doing that, they wanted to hurry the Jews out of the
town to the forests, and also to prove their opposition.
that a few days before the day of destruction, Leibel Slivkin
came to us and said specifically that it is possible that the
members of the group will go out to work and won't return home.He told his parents that he had to remain in the town for
some arrangements, of which we knew nothing.According to what he said, he couldn't stay home with his
parents all the time, but he ordered us not to go far from the
house, so that at the right time he would be able to be with us.What Leibel's tasks and plans were actually mean nothing
now, it doesn't add or subtract from them.What is important is that there were young people in this
group who consulted with each other and wanted to act at a time
when fear and helplessness ruled around them.
heard the news about the digging of the pits at the time of
on, a sort of deep sleep fell over the town.What remained in my memory is a kind of running around of
people who were trapped in a trap of fire and their eyes were
torn, trying to see from where their help would come.The news spread very quickly in the ghetto, and from
every house there arose voices of mourning and weeping and the
recital of Psalms.
I also remember one who believed in miracles, "Yitzchak der
ran between the houses, calling:
shrekt zich nisht, is vat botel veren di gezeira" ("Jews,
don't be afraid, the decree will be cancelled.")
lived in the tension of days of emergency and bloodshed.During the nights, there were attempts to flee.At that time, Leizer the butcher was shot and killed.There already were ambushers organized around the town.A day or two before the destruction, the group of young
people went out to work and they did not return to the ghetto
Leibel did not go with them.He was going around among the houses as if he had planned
week, four young men who had been rescued from destruction in
the places where they lived arrived in the Vladimirets ghetto.Two of them had fled from the Lutsk
ghetto during the elimination action; one was from a town near Lutsk, and one was a lad of 14 who had fled
from the ghetto in Dombrowica at the time of its destruction.The Germans knew of this boy and they didn't harm him.They allowed him to wander in the Vladimirets ghetto,
certainly with the intention that when the day came, he would be
killed with all the rest.The Germans did not know about the other three.I saw them in the public kitchen.The oldest among them was about 20 years old, and he gave
the impression that he was a very strong, courageous fellow.The other two looked weaker and younger than him.They told us about the destruction of the Lutsk ghetto and the
murder of the Jews.
Even though their story reached us during the days of the news
about the digging of the pits, there were some Jews who argued
the Jews of your town did not act properly and the action came
men stayed in Vladimirets and the Germans did not know they were
there only for a short time, about two days.Then they discovered them.They beat the oldest of them until his soul left him.They shot his two friends and killed them.
Thursday of that week, the Germans informed us that the next day
there would be a roll call of the population.Such roll calls had been already conducted in the past,
but now each one found a connection between the roll call and
the digging of the pits.During the night between Thursday and Friday, no one
slept at all.
Everyone sat and waited.Chapters of Psalms and silent voices of weeping filled
the town.I also
was awake the entire night.
morning at 7 o'clock I wanted to go to my Uncle Yaakov
Slivkin, who lived near our house, about 50 meters away.When I left the house, the wicket of the yard, which
overlooked the main street, was open.That very moment, a Ukrainian policeman passed by, and
with him was the boy from Dombrowica.The boy saw me through the wicket, and he said to the
policeman looked at me, called to me and said:
this boy to the police station and cut wood there."
want to go far from the house that morning.I also worried that my parents wouldn't know where I had
disappeared to, and I began to beg and make excuses and pretexts
to escape this work:I told him that I would come later, that I would just go
to tell my parents, that I hadn't yet eaten the excuses did not
honored me with a strong blow in the face and shouted:
your tongue around so much.Go quickly to the police station.If you didn't eat, they will feed you by us."
I went with
the boy.For a
short distance, the policeman accompanied us, and after that he
left us alone. Before he left, he ordered us again to go
straight to the yard of the police station.When I saw the policeman go away, a spirit of rebellion
arose in me and I said to myself that I would go home, no matter
what.I began to
look here and there, to see if it was possible to escape.The fact that at home they didn't know where I was caused
me actual confusion.I looked for a way to escape, and I didn't find one.
arrived at the crossroad, I turned into an alley in order to go
around the row of our houses and return home from the back.I left the boy from Dombrowica alone and began to run to
the alley, but suddenly a Ukrainian policeman appeared and began
to shout and call to me to stop.He was already aiming his rifle at me.I saw that there was no purpose to running away and I
I heard that the boy from Dombrowica was telling the policeman
that I had been drafted to work and that I had run away.When I approached the policeman, I received a punch in
the shoulder, and he ordered me to go immediately to work.Now, there was no possibility of escape, and so we
arrived at the police yard.The fact that the boy had pointed at me when I was in our
yard and after that even told the policeman that I had run away,
awakened hostility toward him in me, and I couldn't look him in
the face.So we
entered the police yard without speaking to each other.
was full of wood.
Many policemen were walking around there.We were given a saw and two axes, and we began to work.We worked the entire time in silence.First we sawed, and after that we continued with
and worried the whole time about my family and their concern for
me.I knew that in
a little while everyone would go to the roll call and my parents
didn't know where I was.Now, I didn't have plans to run away again.Here it was as if I were in a trap.The yard was surrounded by a high fence, and only a
single narrow passage led to the main street.While we were still working, a young policeman approached
us and said:
working and go to the plot where the roll call is to take
out of the yard.I
went first, and the boy from Dombrowica followed.The street was empty.The gathering place was nearby, about 100 meters from the
When I came
to the plot, I found only a few people.From here, I saw the street, which was being filled from
minute to minute with people coming toward us.Many of the people coming were wrapped in talitot
[prayer shawls] and white kittels [surplices] like on Yom
walked, family by family together.Many cried as they walked, but secretly.And here, I saw my family, and my sister Teibele, who had
been brought back the day before from the village where she
worked.Now we were
and my sisters stood and cried.The sound of weeping was heard from every corner.People stood next to each other, as they do at times of
parting, hugging and kissing.Here, Leibel also arrived.He stood next to me and said to me and his brother Chaim,
is a chance to run away, don't hesitate run.If there is such an opportunity, it will be best to run
away through this alley, toward the fields and the forest."
the German major arrived.This was a very tall, fat Yekke.He was famous for his cruelty.He used to beat prisoners until the blood would bubble
out of their flesh.
Next to him stood the representatives of the Jewish community
Yaakov Eisenberg and Natan Tscherniak.The plot slowly became full.Suddenly, the German announced that all those who had a
profession should line up on one side, and those who don't have
a profession should line up on the other side.I remember that Abba called to Teibele:
have a profession!"
knew what it meant to be among those without a profession, and
in a moment, the entire plot became a whirlpool.Everyone began to run around and push.A wave of people suddenly pushed toward the major.This filled him with a terrible anger.He quickly lowered his rifle and opened fire toward the
crowd.At the same
time, a few more shots were heard from outside the plot.Bedlam ruled.There were cries of despair and calls of "Shma Yisrael"
and terrible pressure.When the shots were heard, the entire crowd moved
backward like a wave.The members of many families were cut off from each
other.I also lost
my family in the confusion.
I saw that
people had begun to run into the alley, but in the direction of
the alley, the crowding was great.Around the gathering place there was a fence.With a jump, I crossed over the fence and began to run
toward the fields.
I arrived at a well, and I saw that a policeman was standing
behind the well.I
name was Shama he had a reputation for being a good man, who
didn't harm Jews.
He did lower his rifle toward me, but I continued to run toward
him.When I came
closer, he lowered his rifle and wanted to grab me with his
hand, but I got away and fled, and he didn't shoot after me.To this day, I am of the opinion that he only wanted to
appear as if he was faithfully fulfilling his job, but he didn't
really intend to catch me.
I ran over
the fields toward the forest.I passed the Jewish cemetery.When I came close to the forest, I heard at a distance as
if someone was calling my name, but I was confused and mixed-up,
and I didn't answer the voice.Afterwards it became clear to me that these were Abba and
my three sisters.
They tried to run to me, but I didn't see them.I didn't sense that they were there, and I continued to
run toward the forest and go deep inside, as much as possible.In the forest, I met my aunt and her daughter, and now
there were three of us together.
Now, I was
decided to go to Andrukha, but in order to find the right
direction, I had to find a point of reference.I knew that I would be able to locate myself according to
the train tracks.
We decided to look for the train tracks.It was already afternoon when we reached the tracks.We didn't go really close to them, but we stood at a
short distance from them.
"If we go
in this direction," we said, "we will get to Antonovka; and if
we go in this direction, we will get to Vladimirets."
calculations were correct, and toward evening, we arrived near
the Vladimirets station.We now made a large detour inside the forest.We crossed the road leading to Zubaki, and again we were
near the train tracks.We continued to walk.We were very hungry.But we came closer to Andrukha.We approached one of the villagers, whose house stood at
the edge of the village.He gave us bread, but we didn't go into his house.We found a hiding place in a field of potatoes.We lay in this field all night and all the following day
entire day we heard goyim telling jokes and laughing in a
nearby field, during the harvest.The world was going on as usual.
evening, after the Sabbath, I decided to go to our friend, the
goy, Dennis Russin.My aunt and her daughter went to another goy.
I went to
his house indirectly.In one alley, two goyim came toward me.I jumped over a fence.On the other side of the fence there was a thick tree.I attached myself to the trunk.The goyim came to the place where I had crossed
the fence and stopped.They just stopped there at random, and continued their
conversation, but I held my breath.I thought that they sensed my presence.In a few minutes, they went away and continued walking.I reached Dennis.There was light in his house.I decided not to approach the window now, because there
might be strangers in the house.I entered his neighbor's garden.I hid in the garden behind a pear tree that I was very
familiar with from days gone by.From there, I watched Dennis' house all the time.
light was extinguished, I waited another short while and
approached the window.There was a dog in Dennis' yard, and I was very worried
that he would start to bark or even attack me.It was an actual miracle that the dog did not bark at me.I knocked lightly on the window.Dennis approached, and he recognized me.He didn't say a word; he only signaled to me with his
hand that I should go to the door.
me inside.He gave
me food and spoke to me quietly, in a merciful tone.He explained to me that there was a great danger in
remaining with him, because he had millstones and it was
forbidden to keep them in one's possession; it was not
impossible that the Germans would conduct a search in his house.Therefore, I had to find a safer place.But I could come to him at night, and he would always
help me.I told him
about my aunt and her daughter, who were hiding at Lukowitz'
house, and that I intended to meet them there and find a place
to hide in the forest.And that is how it was.
of us hid in the forest, and Lukowitz knew where we were
afraid to walk around in the village to come to Dennis.So I went out at night, and dug potatoes from the field.This was our main food.
Abba visited Dennis.He welcomed him, brought him into the house, and first of
all, let him eat until he was satisfied.After that, he wrapped a loaf of bread and other food
into a bundle.He
suggested that he come back on Thursday night, and he would
prepare food for him for several days.He warned him not to walk around at night in the village
because of the danger.After all that, he said to him:
will go to Lukowitz' house, and there they will tell you where
your son Mordechai is to be found."And he told him about my visit with him a few nights ago.
you tell me immediately that my son was at your house?How could you leave this news until now and not to tell
me immediately?" asked Abba, with emotion and surprise.
"I did it
on purpose," answered Dennis."If I had told you immediately when you came, you would
have certainly gotten excited and ran to Lukowitz before you ate
and before you rested a bit.I decided, therefore, to delay my news until you ate and
immediately went to Lukowitz, and there he was informed of our
secret location in the forest.That same night, Abba came to the forest, and now I found
out from him the fate of my sisters.
fled from the gathering place together with three of my sisters,
among them my sister Rachel, who was 11 years old.In the forest, Abba was grabbed by goyim who
stripped him of his clothes for the sake of brutality and left
him in only his underwear.
after the Sabbath, Abba passed by the Polish settlement
Khoromtsy with my three sisters, and they arrived not far from a
house that stood all alone in the forest.My youngest sister Rachele began to cry.She was very hungry and wanted Abba to get her some food.Abba decided to go into the house and ask for something.He entered the yard, and my sisters remained outside next
to the path, waiting for his return.A few more girls from Vladimirets were with them.
In the yard
of the house, Abba met two Poles, brothers.When one of the brothers saw the form approaching in the
dark, he became a bit frightened and said to his brother:
certainly is a bandit coming to us?"
a bandit," laughed the other brother."It's a Jew who was stripped of his clothes and they left
him in his underwear.
heard what they said, he immediately understood that it was
dangerous to remain there, and he began to withdraw from the
yard.He was facing
the Poles and he walked backwards.
who had heard the conversation in the yard, were very frightened
and they immediately ran away from the place and hid in a field
went out of the yard, and when he didn't find the girls, he
began to run back and forth and call, "Rachel, Golda."Meanwhile, he had distanced himself from them and again,
he didn't find them.The next day, Sunday, all of the girls were seized and
brought to Vladimirets, and there they were murdered.
several days of wandering in the forest, we met my cousin,
Yitzchak Slivkin's son Pinchas, who was with the group of young
people who had worked at the holding and had succeeded in
fleeing from Vladimirets the day before the destruction.Pinchas told us that one night, they had met three armed
goyim in the forest.One of the goyim lowered his rifle and aimed it at
the group, but our youngsters were too close to them and the
goyim were unable to manoeuvre.Moshe's son Pinchas grabbed the goy's rifle and
took it out of his hands.The other goyim were frightened and laid themselves down
on the ground.The
youngsters also did that.The armed goyim began to shoot, and Pinchas
returned only one shot, because unfortunately he only had a few
to the youngsters to get away from the place.Pinchas had obtained a pistol from a Pole, whose name was
Bulis Zavadsky, as well as ammunition for a rifle.
time, this group split up.Moshe's son Pinchas and Yitzchak's son Pinchas remained
together, and Avraham Sussel and the others separated from them.
Sussel's group made a terrible mistake one day, which brought
about their end.
One night they went out to a village that was near their hiding
place in the forest, and they took food by force from the
deed aroused all of the people of the village against them, and
they decided to take revenge.The villagers began to follow them, until one night they
found them all asleep and murdered them.
Pinchas was seized by four goyim.He energetically objected, but they overcame him and tied
him up and took him to Vladimirets, where he met his death.Only Yitzchak's son Pinchas remained alive.
Slivkin, who now lives in the
United States, told us when we
were in the forest about his brother Leibel, who remained in
Vladimirets on behalf of the group and at its request.According to what he said, Leibel also ran away from the
gathering place, and Chaim saw him lying dead in the field.The murderers' bullet reached him as he fled.
that happened to me and my father in the forests is a very long,
tragic story, and if I had been asked to tell it all, I would
not be adequate.